Conjoined Twins

ibram-kendi--credit-jeff-watts-american-universityFrom author and professor Ibram X. Kendi’s recent interview on DemocracyNow (August 13, 2019). Kendi’s new book is called How To Be An Antiracist.

I classify racism and capitalism as these conjoined twins — right? — from the same body but different personalities, different faces. And the reason why I do that is because I’m an historian. And so I track, particularly in my last book — the origins of racism cannot be separated from the origins of capitalism. The origins of capitalism cannot be separated from the origins of racism. The life of racism cannot be separated from the life of capitalism, and vice versa.

When you think about, for instance, the slave trade, which was critical in the accumulation of wealth in Europe, that was fundamentally a set of racist policies. When you think of colonialism, or even slavery, these are fundamentally a relationship between racism and capitalism, which was essential to its emergence. And so, I think in order to truly be antiracist, you also have to truly be anti-capitalist, as I write in the book. And in order to truly be anti-capitalist, you have to be antiracist, because they’re interrelated.

2 thoughts on “Conjoined Twins

  1. I very much agree with this sentiment, but a concern I have is that you shared this message at a conference underwritten by one of the most powerful billionaires on the planet. You gave a keynote speech at UnboundEd’s Standards Institute a few months ago. They promote Common Core digital curriculum and have taken over $11 million in funding from the Gates Foundation. I asked previously if you believe Bill Gates to be anti-racist? Anti-capitalist? This certainly complicates the situation when educators, many of whom respect your message, are faced with the incursion of computerized instruction that is dehumanizing and supplants human relationships in the classroom. If they take a stand against products pushed by Gates that advance his profits and contribute to the profiling of Black children, they are now being called racist. I can’t believe that was your intention. Can you please clarify your position on UnboundEd and Bill Gates? Thank you.

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